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Heroes Community > Bards Glade Pyre (RPG) > Thread: Sundered Realms (IC)
Thread: Sundered Realms (IC) This thread is 20 pages long: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 · «PREV / NEXT»
Lith-Maethor
Lith-Maethor


Honorable
Legendary Hero
paid in Coin and Cleavage
posted September 05, 2021 09:28 PM

Park, Thessaloniki, Solun Region

Alexander arrived at the spot Lana and Corina were just as the vines carrying the three men did. He skid to a stop, then gave a quick look around to assess the situation. His eyes moved from the three terrified men to the woman that was cowering in the distance, before finally falling on the two women next to him.

"Lana, that is enough. Put them down."

He spoke calmly, though one could feel the presence behind the voice, just under the surface, barely contained at the moment. Lana blinked slowly, then lowered herself and the men, the latter with much less care for their bodily integrity. She glanced at the archon, then stepped back a bit, looking down and shuffling her weight lightly.

As he stepped closer to the pile of foreigners, Cyrus would see all the dogs around sitting flat on the ground and lowering their gaze and ears. He reached to grab one of them by the collar and pulled him up, just in time for Scav, Simon, and Tarkas to be close enough to watch the scene unfold.

A low and rather animalistic growl was heard as he leaned closer to the rather plump man. The aggression was practically radiating off of him at this point, made all the more evident as he bared his fangs with a faint hiss. When he spoke, his voice was practically a growl.

"I hate repeating myself, slaver. This is the second time you force me to. There will not be a third."

He held the man higher as the fingers of his free hand formed into talons. Before the slaver could respond to his words, he plunged the sharp tips into the man's crotch, then yanked them back along with a chunk of bloody flesh.

He dropped the man to the ground, before the other two that were staring in shock before moving quickly to his aid. He discarded the ripped flesh with disgust, then spat on the ground.

"Take this filth away and put it in chains. Consider this a warning. If I see any of you approach another released slave, I will get nasty."
____________
You are suffering from delusions of adequacy.

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Gnomes2169
Gnomes2169


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
Duke of the Glade
posted September 06, 2021 03:33 PM
Edited by Gnomes2169 at 15:37, 06 Sep 2021.

Oh. Well. That problem solved itself- "What the damn hell was that?" Simon asked Tarkas from the tree branch he was sitting in. The language he was using was Avalonian, and with the shared roots between that language and English Scav might actually recognize some of the words. "You felt that, right? The whole 'throw enough magic around to bring a poor wizard apprentice's broom to life' thing? All to deal with some incredibly minor players in the grand scheme of things, and because of a petty crime that could have been solved with far less fanfare..." Looking flatly into the middle distance, the wampyri grunt and says, "I need two damned days off. I'm starting to think like an actual caravan guard."
____________
Yeah in the 18th century, two inventions suggested a method of measurement. One won and the other stayed in America.
-Ghost destroying Fred

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Geny
Geny


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted September 06, 2021 06:24 PM

"I definitely felt that, friend." Tarkas answered, blissfully unaware that he was addressed in anything but the local tongue, "but aside from the commotion, it doesn't look like the power was misused. No destruction, no casualties, just a few offenders bound. If anything, the archon's punishment was more excessive. Of course, if I read the situation correctly, it was not unwarranted. After all, it is his city, so I assume he knows its laws."
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Shadowcaster
Shadowcaster


Honorable
Supreme Hero
Shaded Scribe
posted September 07, 2021 06:05 PM

"Probably wrote some of them," Scav added as he arrived a bit after the others, "but survival of the fittest will always be the undercurrent to any system of laws. Looks like the archon has what he needs to maintain the authority he has, and that might be all that matters in the end." He could not help but flash back to the Wastes, where the undercurrent had been all that remained. Alex's brutal gesture was only shocking to Scav in its contrast to the peaceful society he was tasked with maintaining. Although, with the Voidborn encroaching more and more on their plane of reality, it seemed the undercurrent was again in danger of overwhelming all other currents.

"In any case, I'm glad he's on our side. Would hate to be a slaver right now," he said forebodingly before quickly adding, "Not that there's any right time to be a slaver." His face grew thoughtful. "Had to deal with plenty of those snows in my day. Even spent some time under the yoke, but that's a tale for another day. I'm sure our illustrious host will want to debrief us after all the...commotion."
____________
>_>

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Oddball13579
Oddball13579


Supreme Hero
Grandmaster of the Hunt
posted September 10, 2021 06:43 PM

Cyrus moved to stand next to the Archon. Small arcs of neon blues and pinks danced along his limbs. The lines of his armour and cloak pulsed with the same light. He turned to look at the Archon with blazing eyes.

"That's it? That's all they get?" The anger seeped into his voice, the arcs along his body growing in frequency and intensity. His cloak flared slightly, rippling in an unfelt wind. He turned back to glare at the retreating slavers, a snarl forming on his face. "I would've done so much worse. In fact..."

It was so easy, so simple, to just reach out and invade their minds. Seize control of their bodies and freeze them. It was like pressing pause on a remote. The slaver's bodies all halted, held perfectly still by Cyrus' will. The spike of terror in their minds was delicious. Their minds racing with terror as they assumed the Archon was coming back to finish them. They thrashed and struggled within the recesses of their minds, but it was no use. Their minds were now a prison, and Cyrus' was the warden with an ironfist.

He turned to look at the Archon again. "May I?"
____________
"Just slide her down a bit farther. I could wear her like a hat." - Gnomes

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Geny
Geny


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted September 10, 2021 08:42 PM

While they were talking, Tarkas noticed Cyrus not far away. He raised his hand to wave, nut the man clearly wasn't looking in the former watchman's direction. Instead, he was walking towards the archon and he was... pulsing with light? For a moment Tarkas thought that maybe they share a similar power, but he quickly realized that wasn't it. There was something off about these pulses. Combined with the look on Cyrus' face, they seemed almost sinister.

Epitheus hurried forward to intercept whatever it was that was about to burst. He arrived just in time to hear Cyrus say that he "would've done so much worse". Tarkas increased his speed, stopping abruptly when he was just behind the angry sparking man and placing a hand on his shoulder.

"It's true that these men have done evil deeds, my friend, but it is not for us to punish them. This city is a place of order. People are watching," Tarkas waved with his free hand to indicate the onlookers. "We must show them justice, not vengeance. Punishment, not violence. The rule of law, not the tyranny of power. Settle down, my friend, and let the archon do his duty."
____________
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Lith-Maethor
Lith-Maethor


Honorable
Legendary Hero
paid in Coin and Cleavage
posted September 10, 2021 08:59 PM

Park, Thessaloniki, Solun Region

Alexander would turn to look at Cyrus and for a moment it looked like he was about to strike him down. His eyes focused a moment later, though he took a moment to sniff lightly and his lips curled back in a feral grin, just as Tarkas joined them. When he spoke his voice still carried a bit of a growl.

"Funny you should mention that... I am, after all the tyrant of this city. Justice is what I say it is." His grin widened, showing fangs. He then turned his gaze back to Cyrus. "No. The message was sent. Doing more will lessen the impact. Slavers like their balls almost as much as they like their wallets."

He then snapped his gaze to Corina, perking a brow in a silent question. The woman quickly dropped to a knee before him, more like a soldier than how an odalisque was supposed to. She kept her gaze lowered as she spoke softly.

"I saw him approach the woman again, my Master. I asked Miss Lana to intervene... I did not expect her to go full out."

Lana shifted her weight, looking down like a scolded child, muttering an apology under her breath.
____________
You are suffering from delusions of adequacy.

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Oddball13579
Oddball13579


Supreme Hero
Grandmaster of the Hunt
posted September 10, 2021 09:10 PM
Edited by Oddball13579 at 21:12, 10 Sep 2021.

Cyrus looked over his shoulder at Tarkas, then down at his hand. "Touch me again and you lose your hand." He shrugged the man's hand off, multiple arcs of neon crackling across the point of contact as he did so.

Turning to face Tarkas, he adjusted his cloak so it stopped fluttering in a breeze. With his shields whole once more it was actually bearable to be in proximity to the walking lighthouse. His mind was no longer blinding, but instead stood on the cusp of just irritating enough to make him do the mental equivalent of a squint.

He couldn't help the sneer. Justice not vengeance? In Cyrus' mind the two often went hand in hand. The same side of a dangerous coin that burned any who held it.

Speaking from personal experience alone, anyone who had ever experienced the cold choke of slaver chains or the crack of a cruel master's whip would never show mercy to such utter trash. It was simple. No quarter. No pity. No understanding. They didn't deserve any of it.

He tilted his head to the side, regarding the man before him. "I doubt those who are now lying dead it ditches because of their master's vileness would share your sentiment Tarkas. Besides, who said anything about violence? What I was offering was a more severe punishment than simple castration. There's lots of ways to punish someone. Ways that go beyond the mere physical body. The mind is a dangerous place; and human mind's are so malleable."

He turned back to look at the Archon to see the feral look of utter enjoyment on his face, before it vanished in a blink. Seems the Archon had quite the beast inside him. "No. The message was sent. Doing more will lessen the impact. Slavers like their balls almost as much as they like their wallets."

Cyrus cringed at that. He'd had a few "owners" that were a bit too fond of their nethers. Something he had had to bare the brunt of. He shook the memories away and focused back on reality.

He couldn't help but match the the fang-revealing smirk on Alex's face. "Ah, but what about making him relive that one moment over and over again until he is nothing more than a shattered husk of worthless meat?. A living purgatory." He tucked his hands behind his back and rocked back and forth on his heels, like an excited child waiting for their parents permission to go and play.
____________
"Just slide her down a bit farther. I could wear her like a hat." - Gnomes

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Shadowcaster
Shadowcaster


Honorable
Supreme Hero
Shaded Scribe
posted September 11, 2021 01:02 AM

Before the trio could move in good order, the man already standing nearer to the commotion began seething with crackling fluorescent energy as he turned and said something intensely to the archon. Scav recognized him as one of the other grumps in the courtyard who'd given a terse introduction and turned away from the group, rationalizing that because he'd had a reason to be impatient he was better off than this man and the female thief yet not quite convincing himself. Still, this newcomer -- he couldn't quite remember the name among the pile that had been thrown his way -- was clearly disturbed, possibly unhinged. Scav made a mental note to search the man for weak points to exploit, physical or otherwise, if the man was indeed to be one of his companions in the campaign against the Voidborn. Though the power disparity might be too great to ever make use of the knowledge, and this could be one of the mind readers in the group. At least with him distracted, Scav's machinations were not likely to be noticed.

The man turned toward the retreating slavers, somehow halting them in place, looking terrified and powerless. Tarkas began to move toward the new aggressor and Scav urged him to be cautious. "Watch that man," he quickly whispered, though it was unclear if Tarkas had heard him. The Great Beacon was also a shield in times of need, Scav had no doubt, and it probably wouldn't even be much of a manipulation to set him against the crackling man if it ever came to that. "Defender of the innocent and all that," he muttered to himself, wondered if he could be considered innocent in any way. But Tarkas felt he was worth defending, and not even Scav's well-won cynicism could harden his heart against that boon.

As Tarkas broke into a run, Scav moved closer in not much of a hurry, wanting to hear what was going on while still being out of the line of fire. Well, assuming that was possible. The men exchanged words, Tarkas appealing to justice, Alex confirming his view that power defined justice, and the third man visibly scoffing at the notion of justice. Yeah, ball of joy, this one. Scav would have to ask him what had happened when he got the chance. The worst the man could do -- well, would likely do -- was refuse, and Scav would not push. His time in the Wastes had taught him that a little connection could go a long way. But he would still keep Tarkas in between them, so to speak. Trust, sure, but verify first.

Thankfully, Alex's admonition served to quall the crackling man, and he threatened Tarkas as he shoved off his hand. Approach carefully, got it. Probably think unthreatening thoughts as you approached as well, just to be sure. Scav had handled his share of volatile artifacts over the years, and his share of volatile people. "Justice is vengeance with a hard stop, sure, but that stop is incredibly important. Without it, you get stuck in a cycle, and whether of violence or hatred or retribution, it eats away at you if left unchecked." He finally reached the men and stopped a pace behind Tarkas. "Don't take this as a lecture but shared experience. It takes a hard life to make a man as hard as you seem to be, trust me I know. Would love to swap stories over a stiff drink or do if you've the inclination." He looked Cyrus dead in the eye. "Completely understand if the answer is no."
____________
>_>

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Oddball13579
Oddball13579


Supreme Hero
Grandmaster of the Hunt
posted September 11, 2021 05:18 AM
Edited by Oddball13579 at 05:19, 11 Sep 2021.

Scav's words to him were as unexpected as they were unneeded. Shocking enough in their effect that Cyrus' hold on the slavers breaks and they begin to move again. He decides that they are no longer worth the effort and instead turns to fully face Scav and Tarkas, but ignores the glowing lightbulb and instead turns to the man from the Wastes.

"Twice in one day I find myself in a bewilderment." Tarkas he could understand defending slavers, the man was naive and innocent to a painful degree. But Scav? The man literally oozed paranoid out of every pore of his body.

Then Scav was speaking again. About wanting to learn more about him. Exchange drinks and share stories. He seemed to think he had some inkling about what had made Cyrus the way he was. He bite back the scoff. As if the Wastes could ever compare to what he had been put through. Still, his offer seemed genuine. At the surface anyway. But, he could see beyond the words, to what truly laid beneath them. The foundation of their intent. His mind was laid bare to Cyrus, and he took ample time to observe and watch it.

This man was smart. Calculating. Tactical. He knew how to manipulate people, that much was clear. Although, he doubted he had much experience with telepaths. His intent stood out like a glinting knife in the dark. Probing for weaknesses, cleverly disguised as an extension of companionship. It was perhaps the oldest trick in the manipulators handbook. No need to tip his hand now of course. He could always lead Scav on him. Manipulate the manipulator.

There was more, more floating around in that fast and anxious mind. Scav thought he was unhinged, dangerous, disturbed, and............ and he was right.

Melancholy slammed into Cyrus and sapped the remaining fight out of him. The energy that had been crackling along his frame faded. The energy pulsing in his armor and cloak died away, and the neon disappeared from his eyes.

Suddenly he could see himself. It was like he was looking into a funhouse mirror. Instead of seeing himself reflected as he was, he saw his past self. Shaved head, no scarring, the collar around his neck, the psychotic look in his eyes, the Director's hand on his shoulder. He shook the image away.

He looked at Scav, hoping that the sorrow he was feeling was disguised well enough. "I would say yes, if your offer had been genuine." Cyrus turns and walks back to the tree he had been sitting under.

He sits down and leans his back against it, bringing one knee up to rest his chin on it. Silver eyes stare into the distance, unfocused and lost. Scav's offer.... just another blatant reminder of how lonely he truly was. He had no one. His family was gone, and Corina was.... he wasn't even sure what to classify her as. Acquaintance that shared the same trauma?

Scav's offer and intent had hurt Cyrus more than the man could ever realize. Cyrus was aware how he came across. He was a b******. Rude, cold, uncaring. Left over defense mechanisms to save himself from the cruelty of his past. It was hard to let it go, forget what he was. Hard to purge the programming that was etched into his DNA.

He squeezed his eyes shut and blocked out the world around him. He'd just sit here for awhile. Let the other's go about their lives and leave him.... just like everyone else eventually did. Because that is what he did. Push it all away.
____________
"Just slide her down a bit farther. I could wear her like a hat." - Gnomes

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Shadowcaster
Shadowcaster


Honorable
Supreme Hero
Shaded Scribe
posted September 11, 2021 06:53 AM

Scav followed the man but remained a respectful distance away. "Yes, I had, well...have, ulterior motives behind my offer, but I only mean to protect the life I've built here, such as it is. Yes, I see you as a threat, but I'm sure you've figured out that I see everything as a potential threat. I grew up in a harsh world, just as I imagine you did. I have scars and secrets I'd prefer remain hidden, same as anyone. I won't pretend to know your story or have any basis to say mine is harsher in any degree, but if I can understand even a fraction of what you've gone through it's worth the risk of opening up. You can see at a glance that my mind is pure, my heart without guile, but I understand it may be hard for you to trust. I hope you can see that my offer is genuine, even if tainted by self-interest. I want to understand, one broken man to another.  Just...at least give it some thought. I'll leave you alone now." Nodding, he turned to rejoin the others.
____________
>_>

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Geny
Geny


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted September 11, 2021 08:51 AM

"Funny you should mention that... I am, after all the tyrant of this city. Justice is what I say it is."

Tarkas' reply was surprisingly quiet, the softness of his voice contrasting hard against the maelstrom of negative emotions surrounding the group.

"You can call yourself a tyrant if you wish, sir, and maybe you are. But even though I walked your city for less than a day what I've seen was cleanliness, order and smiles in people's eyes. And I don't think that can be achieved unless the ruler puts the city and its denizens above his own thirst for power."

Tarkas was also listening to the exchange between Scan and Cyrus. The latter deflated visibly and walked away. At first, Tarkas moved to follow, but stopped when he saw the scholar go after the troubled man. The only thing the watchman could offer at the moment was compassion and Cyrus seemed to spur that at every opportunity. Scav could offer understanding. So the Epitheus would trust his friend to do the things he can't. He would wait.
____________
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Gnomes2169
Gnomes2169


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
Duke of the Glade
posted September 11, 2021 02:51 PM

The whole exchange would get a raised brow from Simon, who mumbles to himself, "Well, that should settle that, I suppose. I've seen much harsher and much more lenient punishments for things like this..." And he'd been the one pursuing a bloodier end result than the state deemed necessary from time to time. Though those had almost always been for personal slights.

Striding over to Tarkas since he was staying behind while the other two walked off on their own, Simon would clap the other man on the shoulder and say, "So then, glorious hero. Since our next misadventure is already done, and without us dirtying our hands at that, what say we go look at some nice art, visit a local tavern to taste local brews, and learn a few of the local drinking songs that you wouldn't sing around your mother?" And- oh. Scav was returning. "You can come too, of course. Offer is open to most people I've met since coming here."
____________
Yeah in the 18th century, two inventions suggested a method of measurement. One won and the other stayed in America.
-Ghost destroying Fred

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Geny
Geny


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted September 11, 2021 03:07 PM

Tarkas smiled at the fellow wampyr.

"The invitation is appreciated! But I'm afraid the archon wanted to show us, "he indicated at Scav and himself, "something important. I still plan to enjoy the city afterwards and I'll be glad to join you then!"
____________
DON'T BE A NOOB, JOIN A.D.V.E.N.T.U.R.E.

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Oddball13579
Oddball13579


Supreme Hero
Grandmaster of the Hunt
posted September 13, 2021 03:59 AM
Edited by Oddball13579 at 04:01, 13 Sep 2021.

Cyrus listened to Scav's words. He was being honest. Truly honest and upfront about his intentions. It was surprising to say the least. To have the man actually acknowledge it. It was admirable. Scav had earned a few brownie points for that.

As he watched Scav walk away, he began to contemplate trust. Trust wasn't the issue per se. It was the doors trust opened that scared him. It was a lot more complicated than just simply trusting someone. Trust involved giving pieces of yourself to someone and hoping they don't break it. That was what trust was. Willingly giving someone the power to hurt you and believing they won't. That is what was so terrifying about it.

He had trusted so easily in the past and been burned too many times. It had taken years for him to get to the point where he could even tell people his true name without using an alias. And even longer to open himself up to his now husbands. His hand found the necklace beneath his shirt, once again tracing the rings.

Scav was an oddity, confusing Cyrus in many ways. The other's were easy to read and understand. But Scav.... it was hard to. He seemed to want to help almost, connect in a way. Was he purely looking to help Cyrus himself? Or, was he perhaps just as lonely and looking for someone that could understand him as well? The poor man was entirely out of his element, much like Cyrus. But unlike Scav, who had been thrown into the deep end, Cyrus had come into the game with knowledge and a somewhat meager understanding.

Still, Scav's offer continued to echo in his mind. It was true, that unless you had lived through it, no one would understand. He had resigned himself a long time ago to never being able to truly find someone that could understand. The idea of opening up to Scav over a bottle of whiskey was less daunting than he anticipated.

Maybe one day. If they survived that is. Cyrus made a small note in the back of his mind monitor and prioritize Scav's safety should the need arise. A little yellow sticky note stuck onto the corkboard that he kept back there. Couldn't have his potential drinking buddy die before they even had a chance to drink, now could he?
____________
"Just slide her down a bit farther. I could wear her like a hat." - Gnomes

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Galatea
Galatea


Supreme Hero
Well, I'm Ceres!
posted September 13, 2021 11:14 AM

The thief was slightly overwhelmed with what had just manifested. She was expecting something different but she liked the fact that it was faster.

She looked at the surrounding first, in an inspecting manner. For Ivana, it was something familiar yet a bit different. She glanced at the witch as she cocked her right eyebrow, sending a notion of doubt. Then Ivana lowered here eyes and began to concentrate.

Before she could fully focus, a thought flashed into her mind. A certain person, well known to her, she pondered, would be more fitting than her to meddle with these kind of thing. The thief hated these kind of "mind avtivities". She could pull some off, but not something like this. Nevertheless, looking at Ivana's reaction, it seemed that she wasn't fond of what had just came to her. However, the thief knew well,that if she wanted to reach her goal, she must deal with this.

Not feeling that confident, Ivana closed her eyes and try to picture the room they in her mind.


____________
And she told you, laughing down to her core, so she would not cry, as she lay on your lap,
"Nobody here can live forever, quiet in the grasp of dusk and summer."

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Lith-Maethor
Lith-Maethor


Honorable
Legendary Hero
paid in Coin and Cleavage
posted September 14, 2021 10:52 PM

Thessaloniki, Solun Region, Kingdom of Grecia

---Archon's manor---

Selene watched Ivana as the thief tried to focus, remaining silent at first. After a few moments, she pursed her lips and spoke in a calm, gentle tone.

"Focus on the here and now, girl... it is what you are best at."

She would remain with the otherworlder until some progress was made, even if it meant spending hours in the seemingly empty mindscape.

---Downtown, park---

Alex looked between the four men, shaking his head some. He gestured toward Simon as he addressed Tarkas, Scav, and Cyrus.

"The Dacian has the right idea, gentlemen... go out, have fun. Get drunk, laid, or whatever else you feel you must. Whatever I need to show you can wait for tomorrow."

He sighed and ran his clean hand through his hair, glancing around before looking at the dryad near them. She looked down again, doing her best impression of a scolded child.

"I will be busy for the foreseeable future trying to clean up this mess, anyway..."

===

Timeskip to the following morning, just before noon, as the group gathers to the manor.
____________
You are suffering from delusions of adequacy.

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NoobX
NoobX


Undefeatable Hero
Now, this is a paradox...
posted September 16, 2021 01:58 AM

Vosh woke up on the library desk he had been studying on, sore from the uncomfortable position he fell asleep in.  He rose his head, stretching his neck followed by the unmistakable crack of the bones.  Rubbing his eyes and taking a brief look in front of and around him, he noticed the books and heaps of paper he had taken to read the day before.  Most of them bar one rather unremarkable tome had been sorted and put to the side; the tome itself lay in front of him, open on the last few pages. The scholar stood up, still groggy from his slumber, put the books and papers back in their places, and made his way to the room he had previously woken up in, grumbling along the way something about a servant girl bothering him while he was studying. He made himself presentable, then proceeded to the mansion's courtyard.
While waiting for others to potentially show up, he began putting to practice the knowledge he had attained from studying. Conjuring a small mote of fire in his hands, he began elongating and shortening it, twisting and bending it as he willed.  While not nearly as impressive as something mighty wizards might be capable of, even a small success meant that with enough determination and ingenuity, the arcane secrets would be laid bare before him.
____________
Ghost said:
Door knob resembles anus tap.

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Shadowcaster
Shadowcaster


Honorable
Supreme Hero
Shaded Scribe
posted September 17, 2021 01:45 AM
Edited by Shadowcaster at 21:32, 17 Sep 2021.

The lack of any coin but those he'd brought with him from the past weighed heavy in Scav's attention, and while he was sure his patron or a select few of his companions would provide such for his evening's diversions the crusty scavenger had always refused anything he had not earned. What he did earn he had been infamously close-fisted with as well; generosity in the Wastes only invited trouble, and he'd grown accustomed to this way of thinking. Neither take what is not rightly yours nor give what is. The room he'd woken up in back at the manor was more than payment enough for the services he'd rendered Alex so far, and he felt uncomfortable accepting even what seemed a token to the archon despite not having consciously accepting anything before he was lodged within.

But this stinginess only covered over material possessions, and many in the Wastes thought Scav gave away the immaterial too freely. Opinions, condolences, friendships, and the like were given without judgment, though with an appropriately wary eye for deceit or trickery. Having none to share at the moment, and without an easy means to secure entertainment for the night, Scav muttered a hasty excuse to all still present in the courtyard and made to wander the city. He wanted to see what wonders -- technological and otherwise -- the city had to offer, and he needed some time alone to think, to process.

As he wandered, Scav couldn't help notice that the town was a bit more ordinary than he'd expected, hoped even. There were no fantastical bubbling fountains full of pure liquid mana, no smooth-sided towers made of utterly alien material stretching into the skies and filled with inexorable mysteries, no dragons perched on the walls. The town itself was utterly ordinary, reminiscent of a 17th-century European town with the occasional oddity like an electric glow out of a tavern window. The denizens were fascinating, however. Mythological creatures from every background littered the streets, many falling to drink or other debaucheries in the failing light. It seems men are not the only ones whose true selves come out when the shadows come out to play.

When he'd gotten a sense of the city, Scav returned to the manor and decided to get a sense of its confines as well. If this was to be his voluntary prison, he might as well know the lay of the land. Starting at the courtyard, which danced vacant in the torchlight, he moved in the opposite direction from the rooms he had exited that morning and began to explore.

Servants and guards bustled to and fro and Scav tried to stay out of the way as he mapped the layout within the archon's walls. He especially took note of where there were exits, just in case. Eventually he came upon a library and his eyes alighted as he realized he might learn more about this world's history. Maybe he might even find notes on whatever technology had brought him here, or theories on time stasis in general. As he approached the shelves, he noticed a robed man sitting nearby at a table deep in study and recognized him as the one who'd roasted the voidborn in the courtyard earlier today. Had the man looked up, Scav would have nodded or even gone to re-introduce himself, but the man proved too absorbed in his studies to notice the new arrival.

As he scanned the spines of the books lining the sizable shelves, it become utterly clear that whatever magic made the spoken word intelligible to him no matter the language did not extend to the written word. Scav couldn't tell which section of the library he was even, let alone what each individual book discussed. He pulled a few tomes out and looked for pictures, but those he found were almost as foreign to him as the words on the page. Scanning the room for a librarian who could perhaps help him find some books he could decipher, he found a short bespectacled man reshelving a few rows over.

"Excuse me," he asked in a quiet voice. The man seemed a bit startled, then turned to look at Scav. He stole a quick glance at the flower peeking out from his duster pocket and then smiled and responded, "Can I help you?"

"I, erm, can't seem to read any of these books. Do you have any means of fixing that, or know any books that might be written in English?"

The man sniffed, "I don't..." he began, then got a gleam in his eye, revenge stewing in his brain. "We have plenty of books of a more...erotic nature that might suit your fancy."

Scav blinked, wondering if this man had known him in a previous life, then thought better of it and responded with a curt thanks he certainly did not feel, nearly cutting the man off. He had no desire to indulge in the more carnal pleasures this library had to offer, being a much more visual person in any case. And it didn't seem the most prudent use of his time. Unfortunately, it seemed this library held nothing for him at the moment. As tragedy would have it, the library had plenty of Avalonian books Scav would have understood just fine, but he would not find that trove this day.

Scav walked back toward the door leading outside and saw the robed man nodding off at his table. "You said it, brother," he muttered under his breath, knowing exactly which room he'd want to explore next.

***

The next morning, Scav awoke a bit after dawn. No smell of bacon drew him out this morning, so he generally lazed about, pondering what little knowledge he had gleaned from the previous night. As the archon noted on the strange subway car, technology was not a large part of everyday life, at least for the common man here in Arcadia. Alex had promised that he would soon meet other tinkerers and tech experts, but he couldn't help wondering if there were places where society had grown again around technology. No doubt the globalization of technology had been slowed by the convenience magic provided when compared to his own time, so he'd no doubt that every country, perhaps every town even, would be vastly different both from all he knew and from each other. If he was stuck here, the prospect of exploring this new world provided at least some familiar diversion.

The manor itself seemed a straightforward walled palace, no doubt stuffed to the brim with hidden passageways he'd never discover unless Alex decided to share the blueprints, which seemed unlikely. Speaking of Alex, Scav didn't know what to make of the man. He'd gathered him and his other companions from the four corners of the known multiverse, it seemed, but how had he known they would answer the call? He couldn't help but wonder how much of his arrival -- to this manor, to this town, even to this time -- had been orchestrated by the archon, clearly desperate to stem the tide of chaos the Voidborn brought with them. He seemed a good-natured fellow at the moment, but what happened when one of them no longer proved useful, or worse, proved a burden or annoyance. Would they end up like the slavers when this was all done? He'd been quick to trust Alex, it seemed they all had, but the man had an edge that needed to be watched.

Scav looked around at the walls around him, realizing this was a dangerous place to be having such dangerous thoughts, so he took that line of reasoning no further. Instead, he considered his companions. Tarkas seemed positively one-dimensionally good and pure and noble, and while Scav was adept at sussing out self-serving motives and actions he was completely unable to find any within the former watchman. He was almost like a cartoon character, and it was fascinating to watch. But still, he'd made the call to trust this man a long time ago, and that was more valuable than any currency he could scrounge up. Cyrus, on the other hand, seemed inexorably dark and broken, no doubt of some great trauma in his past. He would draw no further conclusions until he'd had time to tease out this dangerous mystery, but at least if he could ascribe some motive to the man he could better predict what he might do next. And maybe make a valuable ally or even friend in the bargain. Simon seemed a fop, but it was clear to Scav that he had his own hidden depths, but perhaps ones less perilous to explore than Cyrus'. The robed man and the female thief were still unknowns, but in his brief interactions with them he'd learned that the man pursued knowledge and the woman pursued freedom. That would have to be enough, for now.

Scav lost himself in his musings, then rose when he heard voices rising from the courtyard. Perhaps he would get some definitive and complete answers at last.
____________
>_>

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Galatea
Galatea


Supreme Hero
Well, I'm Ceres!
posted September 20, 2021 03:26 PM

It's nearing noon already and Ivana was still staring out of the window of her room. Standing there, her mind aimlessly strolled away from what's in front of her. She unconsciously shifted the weight on her other foot and for a moment, her eyes glimmered.

She reached the collar of her leather armor and as she found the opening, she dug her fingers down until she felt a small pocket. Inside it, she took a smooth small object. Will I be needing this in the future? the thief asked herself as she started to stroke it gently. If she understood the witch correctly and if the witch was not lying, after she had mastered the new-found skill, it will be more convenient for her to travel across planes.

Ivana's spine chilled on the thought. She could not imagine how marvelous was that. Aside from it's convenience, she knew it'll give her more power, advantage. However, Ivana's not a fan of grand things. Despite the obvious upper-hand of possessing the skill, the thief was more concern of the downside. She'd rather not have it and not have troubles. She'd rather be simple and unnoticed. She'd rather do small "tasks" than be responsible for the hard ones. Although with all these thoughts, at the back of Ivana's mind, she wanted it.

Ivana blinked and she was back. The heavy thoughts had left her mind. She remembered their session yesterday and her lips curved into a smile. How convenient! she told herself. I could just steal anything! Can I? The thief snickered still stroking the object with her fingers. Then she sighed and finally stopped touching the object. She placed it back inside the pocket and turned to the door.

"I think I want a drink something special. I wonder if this house has something to offer.", she spoke as she walked towards the door, "Now, where is the cellar?"

She continued to giggle as she exited her room, entertained by her own joke. When Ivana reached the manor, the first thing that she looked for was wine.
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And she told you, laughing down to her core, so she would not cry, as she lay on your lap,
"Nobody here can live forever, quiet in the grasp of dusk and summer."

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